Government unveils its higher education financial plan to end student protests

The first details of government’s upcoming Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme have emerged, aimed at addressing South Africa’s “missing middle” students.

Missing-middle students are so-called because they do not qualify for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) assistance but also cannot afford to pay the full brunt of University fees.

They’re classified as students coming from households with annual incomes of between R122‚000 and R600‚000.

The new funding model is being spearheaded by former FirstRand boss, Sizwe Nxasana, and will receive funding from government‚ the private sector‚ non-profit organisations‚ the skills levy‚ financial institutions‚ donors‚ retirement funds and social impact bonds, according to Times Live.

Six institutions including the Tshwane University of Technology; Orbit TVET College in Rustenburg; the University of Cape Town; the University of Pretoria; Wits University; the University of Venda; and Walter Sisulu University have been confirmed to be a part of this year’s pilot, which will then be expanded in 2018.

Those applying for funding in actuarial science; professional artisan studies; chartered accountancy; engineering; medicine; pharmaceuticals; prosthetics; and scarce humanities degrees, will receive preference as they have been  deemed to be “critical to the country’s future”.

Ikusasa will then fully replace the current National Student Financial Aid Scheme with those from poorer backgrounds being fully subsidised.

Read: Prepare for a new round of student protests in 2017

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